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THE Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRACom) is calling on Defra to set out the measures it considers could be introduced to protect UK egg producers from unfair competition after an EU-wide ban on the use of conventional (‘battery’) cages for laying hens is introduced on January 1, 2012.
The call came in a letter from Anne McIntosh, chair of the EFRACom, to Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State at Defra, following consideration of the Government's response to the committee's recent report of its inquiry into the implications of the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive for UK egg producers (see VR, September 17, 2011, vol 169, p 296). In its report, the committee noted that, while the UK egg industry was expected to be fully compliant with the directive when it came into force, figures from the European Commission had suggested that one-third of EU egg production would not be compliant. It expressed its concern that the UK industry would be at a competitive disadvantage if non-compliant cage egg producers in other member states were still able to export eggs and egg products.
In her letter to Mrs Spelman, Miss McIntosh said that the committee was disappointed that the Government's response indicated that the EC …
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